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(59 Posts)
meandashy Mon 05-Jun-17 07:27:19

My dgd is 6. She lives with me at the moment but the plan is she'll be returning to her mum soon after 4 years.
I have been taking her too and from school all this time, albeit slowly, as I use a walking stick.
Recently dgd behaviour has deteriorated. This is understandable as she is anxious etc about the changes. One of the things she's started doing is running off. The times she has done this have been when her mum has been with us but they've been very very scary as she's ran into roads infront of cars and coach's and has shown no sign of stopping. The last occasion a stranger stopped her eventually as my daughter couldn't catch her!
As I am unable to run I have told my daughter and social worker I will not collect her from school any more. After school tends to be a flash point as she is tired and demanding and when i say NO to trips out or sweeties etc she can be aggressive, hitting etc.As I am unable to run I feel she would be in danger.
My daughter works. The after school club isn't run by the school and apparently they don't have space for the last few weeks of term (we break up end of june).
I am being made to feel difficult!
Social worker suggested reins but even then I am not strong enough to hold on to her! She isn't diagnosed with a learning disability, she just is a confused unhappy little (big) girl right now.
There is nobody else who can pick her up regularly.
I've no what to do about this. I have genuine fear of her running off and hurting herself or being run over or heaven forbid snatched!
I need help ๐Ÿ™

Anya Mon 05-Jun-17 07:42:38

She is confused and unhappy, but also very naughty. My GD is 6 too (today in fact) so I understand that age and suggest you sit down with yours and have a serious discussion with her. Then you need to introduce a reward scheme for good, agreed behaviour.

At six she is capable of modifying her behaviour if this has come on suddenly. If, however, her behaviour has been a long-term issue then that might be more difficult.

Anya Mon 05-Jun-17 07:43:20

PS the idea of putting reins in a 6-year old is ridiculous

Iam64 Mon 05-Jun-17 08:04:20

As there is social work nvolvement, it suggests you granddaughter has lived with you for four years because her mother couldn't care for her. If there is a care or supervision order, or special guardianship, the social work team have statutory duties. A taxi for you to the end of term is one practical solution.
The other obvious issue is what kind of support she and her family are getting in this period. By that, I mean advice and support as well as practical help. Reins ! Ridiculous idea

Luckygirl Mon 05-Jun-17 08:35:21

Reins are indeed a truly ridiculous idea.

The SSD have a duty to this child and to you as the person who has responsibility for her at the moment. They have a duty to safeguard her well-being, and, as you are very sensibly flagging up a danger, to respond positively to this. Speak to the Safeguarding Officer for the council and tell them that this child is in danger of serious injury or death and remind them of their duty to her. Do not let them fob you off - this is too serious.

Well done for looking after this little one; she will inevitably be disturbed during this transition.

BlueBelle Mon 05-Jun-17 08:52:43

I totally agree whatever social worker suggested putting her on reigns is off her rocker she's not a horse or a dog
Sensible of you to bring up the fact you can't control her I think a reward system is the way to go as children usually relate very well to that even simple gold stars but yes if nothing else can work, a taxi must be the only sensible answer

Daddima Mon 05-Jun-17 09:17:54

I'd suggest a wee chat when she's calm, maybe asking her why she does it, and telling her why it scares you. Then agree on a rule ( something like, " stay beside me when we're out, rather than," no running off" ), and a reward and loads of praise when she keeps to the rule. You might want to let her suggest the reward ( within reason!) and keep a star chart, where she gets a star for staying beside you, and a simple, " sorry, no star today, as you didn't stay beside me", and certainly never take stars away. You could also decide how many stars she needs to get to get the reward, maybe only setting it at 3 or 4 days, so she gets the idea.

meandashy Mon 05-Jun-17 10:04:28

Thank you for your suggestions.
We have a reward chart.
I have tried talking to her when she's calm. She doesn't seem to have an understanding of why she does it. It's very difficult to explain exactly how she's behaving in that moment but it is nothing like I've ever seen in child before. The sheer determination to get away again once caught is distressing. Her eyes are very wide and she has a scary look about her.The poor man that caught her got kicked and punched for his trouble!
Social worker is making me feel like I'm being difficult, and my daughter and I have argued about it (not infront of dgd).The school are aware of the problem too.
I will be suggesting taxis for the interim period. After the summer holidays dgd will be living with dd full time and she will have to make childcare arrangements to fit around her working hours.
Thanks again ๐Ÿ’

damewithaname Mon 05-Jun-17 10:25:11


radicalnan Mon 05-Jun-17 10:26:22

Can you capitalise on your own walking prblems and ask her to help you by holding on to you, it is a ruse that I use sometimes when trying to get my GD to stick closer to me when out. They do love to be in charge a little.

Reins is ridiculous and would encourage her peers to view her as a baby and she may get bullied.

Luckygirl Mon 05-Jun-17 10:30:08

She will not be able to articulate the reasons behind her actions. She is struggling to deal with her emotions. Very hard for such a little one. This may not be the moment for reward systems - she is in a bad place just now and simply needs protecting.

youngagain Mon 05-Jun-17 10:32:16

Hi. You say that your granddaughter runs off when your daughter is with you? What is she like when you meet her on your own? If she behaves when she is alone with you then it suggests there might well be a problem between her and her mother which you may not know about? Is she on good terms with her teacher? If she is, then maybe the teacher can have a quiet word with her to see if she can find out what is upsetting her. I realise it is difficult for her to adapt to the coming new arrangements but it seems to me as though there is something not quite right between her and her mother. Of course I may be completely wrong, but it might well be worth getting someone, such as her teacher who is not involved with the family, to have a quiet chat with her to see what it is that's upsetting her so much. I hope you can sort this out before anything terrible happens.

JS06 Mon 05-Jun-17 10:35:32

What a lot you've accommodated up to now, you're to be admired for your tenacity and strength of character meandashy. I'm glad there is resolution to your on-going involvement in the near future.

Your granddaughter sounds as though she's processing such a lot of information, some of which must terrify and alarm her. That said, she needs to be safe and you've highlighted significant risk factors. I know exactly what I'd do in your situation although recognise I'm fit enough to impose a strong hold and could match a youngster running away. The social worker sounds as though they've not grasped the full elements of the case, I'm not as aghast as other posters about the reins idea, it would solve the imminent danger although would likely hasten a decline in your granddaughter's fragile anxious state.

My thought would be to contact the social worker's team manager to explain your dilemma, how you've been made to feel when you're only concerned about safety and on-going well-being of your family. Good luck with helping out, it sounds like you're an amazing Mum and Grandma x

Cold Mon 05-Jun-17 10:36:02

It sounds as though she is very stressed and anxious at the moment and that the running is a "fight or flight" reaction - to "run away" from her feelings.

My eldest DD had a similar issue of running away when things got stressful at this age (although she has ASD/ADHD). She found the crowds and noise of breaktimes etc over stimulating. Could the school offer any adjustments - for example would it help if she left 5 minutes early to avoid the chaos? (My DD did this at lunchtimes with a TA). Can SS organise transport for her?

Is she getting any counselling to help her anxiety or develop strategies to deal with stress?

Also reins is a totally absurd idea - it would totally humiliate her in front of her peers and most 6 year olds could just unclip them anyway

angelab Mon 05-Jun-17 10:47:44

I agree with cold, it's v important she gets emotional support, not just managing the results of her emotional upheaval. Might be worth asking your GP about possible referral to child mental health?

NfkDumpling Mon 05-Jun-17 10:57:53

Perhaps the running is like a panic attack and she has no control over it. The angst in her life coming out.

I think a taxi is the obvious answer but SS will fight this and try to make you feel guilty as it costs money.

How far do you have to walk? Would a small packet of smarties or such which take time to eat pre-empt her demands and get her over the transition between school and home?

AmMaz Mon 05-Jun-17 11:04:08

I don't endorse asking her why she does it as its likely she doesn't know and anyway it doesn't matter in the scheme of things, it has just got to STOP. Asking that Q gives her the wrong kind of attention and so may reinforce the unwanted behaviour. She is not an adult in counselling! Ditto she doesnt need to know why grandmother is frightened. It's the child that counts and the behaviour must be worked with.

The adults must take responsibility and TELL the child in no uncertain terms what is expected. And yes, rewarding good behaviour however humbly. Kids shine when given due praise and they can feel we are proud of them. Give her positive attention when she is doing right.

Maybe some gentle, casual, reassuring conversation at another time re the transition, giving space to express HER anxiety if its there (not yours!), and no direct questioning!
Good luck Meandashy. I do feel for you. You are her rock and doing a grand job.

Caro1954 Mon 05-Jun-17 11:04:47

I agree with cold and angelab that this little girl needs help. You have done a fantastic job of supporting her and DD but this transition is more than you should be coping with on your own. After school can be a really difficult time, behaviour wise - as my own DD can testify. Try to get help in place for DGD and definitely a taxi for the school run. Good luck. flowers

angelab Mon 05-Jun-17 11:06:50

If SS won't cough up for taxi, is there anyone who would help financially?

Hm999 Mon 05-Jun-17 11:08:13

Reins could be used as a threat.

She needs to talk to an objective adult, perhaps school can access someone. Or GP

mags1234 Mon 05-Jun-17 11:08:55

You need to put concerns clearly and specifically in writing to the head of social services and keep a copy, pointing out there is a definite danger to granddaughter, and ask in it for a reply.
Say her life is in danger, this is serious but short term, that you are willing to go in a taxi provided by them. I was an escort, paid, for children with needs, and they could either provide an escort in a taxi or walking. If you don't get a fast response, phone every few days. Then if nec contact your local mp.
Let us know how it goes

TenGran Mon 05-Jun-17 11:21:32

Bit of a message here, I think. She doesn't want to live with her Mum. Agree= social services should pay for a taxi. Good Luck with it all- you've obviously been a strength for everyone.

Ana Mon 05-Jun-17 11:24:16

Perhaps don't go with your daughter to collect DG until transport can be sorted, if she only plays up when her mum's around.

Butterflykisses Mon 05-Jun-17 11:30:33

It sounds to me as if your DGD is very confused about the situation. She has been living with you and now she is going back to her mother, which after 4 of her 6 years must seem very scary and confusing. It might feel that you are rejecting her and so she is running away from the situation. She definitely needs some professional support - the school should have a SENCO who might be able to help and she needs to be allowed to express her feelings.... although she might find that difficult at her young age. Good luck. It sounds as if you've done a brilliant job. xx

SallyDapp Mon 05-Jun-17 11:50:30

You can call a meeting at any time you like with SS. I'm assuming you've had at least 2 meetings a year whilst she's lived with you and twice yearly meetings with school as well. They have a duty of care especially if there's a court order, they have to respond to you and help you care for her. A taxi to and from school helps and SS can find and fund after school hobbies. They can even fund respite care with a foster carer or childminder part time. Her SW should be visiting her every 6 weeks minimum. Maybe your dgd doesn't understand what's going to happen to her when she goes back to Mum, she may need it explained in more detail, or in photo fashion. With young children I prepared photo albums to explain what was happening and asked for their input as well. (Sometimes more than 1 album because an angry child can destroy an album in seconds!) This includes things like how often she still sees you, who looks after her if Mum is ill , what happens if Mum abandons her (in her mind again). Another album which explains her family tree and her role within that family, include things like where she was born, lots of baby photos with the relevant people, information on the weather that day etc, any details that make her feel special and important, info on her father's family, even if you don't like him. You may have this info in your head but she doesn't.
Sticker charts are brilliant though, never underestimate a good sticker chart.